Best Netflix UK series and films

Sofia Vergara in Griselda, a new One Day adaptation and season three of Bridgerton

Sofía Vergara as Griselda
Sofía Vergara as Griselda
(Image credit: Elizabeth Morris/Netflix)

Netflix is Britain's most popular TV streaming service, and here's our pick of the best bingeable series and the top films on now, or coming soon.

Griselda

"Modern Family" star Sofia Vergara is "icily impressive" as "real-life drug boss Griselda Blanco Restrepo", said the Daily Mail. This six-episode "story of female empowerment and brutal criminality" charts the Colombian immigrant's rise to become one of the most powerful and feared drug importers in Miami. Episode one "grabs you by the throat" with a quote from Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar: "The only man I was ever afraid of was a woman named Griselda Blanco." Vergara, also credited as executive producer, delivers "an astonishing performance", said Empire. Referred to by her cartel as "the Godmother", her character is "both a complete terror and someone who can nurture with motherly love". And it's Vergara's "ability to effortlessly shift between these two modes that makes her such a striking presence. Every moment hangs on Vergara's work, and the show suffers when she's not present."

 Good Grief 

The directorial debut of Dan Levy of "Schitt's Creek", this film "looks so glossily moneyed" you assume it's going to be "shallow and rather dumb", said Wendy Ide in The Guardian. But Levy, who also wrote the screenplay and stars in it, too, has made a "satisfyingly adult, bittersweet drama" which shows that even a "seemingly gilded life can be painfully messy". It tells the tale of Marc (Levy), a London-based illustrator who is broken when his husband, Oliver (Luke Evans), dies unexpectedly. But as he grieves, Marc discovers a secret that makes him question how well he knew his partner, and he heads to Paris to get some answers. The film is elevated by "crisp dialogue", which "captures bonds of friendship that are loving, but at the same time stretched to breaking point".

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Six Nations: Full Contact

Unsurprisingly, with the Six Nations rugby tournament on, this documentary about last year's competition made the top three most-watched Netflix series in the last week of January. Its eight episodes focus equally on "behind-the-scenes dramas and little-known personal stories" and the "big on-the-field results" of the 2023 Six Nations, said the Daily Mail, as well as "final preparations for the World Cup that follows it". However, it "poses the more philosophical question of whether rugby needs to market its stars as individuals", said The Telegraph. Or perhaps "the producers must start to embrace the (albeit intangible) qualities of rugby – the camaraderie and the kinship".

Society of the Snow

The story of the Uruguayan plane crash in the remote Andes in 1972, and "the ordeal of the survivors who resorted to cannibalism", is "powerfully retold" in this film by Spanish director J.A. Bayona, said The Guardian. As time passes with no sign of rescue, "drinking water is not a problem because of the snow, but gnawing hunger sets in". The extreme cold has preserved the dead bodies "and the awful decision has to be made". "Society of the Snow" is a "fervent film, heartfelt and shot with passion and flair". It "downplays the explicit revulsion of what was happening, in favour of highlighting the agony and tough resilience in the gruelling conditions" endured by the survivors. "The sense of isolation, cold and hopelessness it conveys is crushing," said Mail Plus, and we watch as "the teammates make momentous decisions in order to stave off death long enough to find a way back to civilisation".

The Brothers Sun

"The Brothers Sun" is a "tale of two halves" featuring a "nuclear family living oceans apart". Eileen (Michelle Yeoh) "dotes on" her son Bruce, a "dorky medical student" who's been using his education fees to "finance his true passion: improv", said Time. But Bruce is also in the dark about his estranged father, who is head of a Taiwanese triad, and has groomed Bruce's brother Charles – "a brother Bruce hasn't seen since childhood" – as "a deadly assassin". The Suns split years ago to protect the family. What is "remarkable" is the "seamlessness with which Yeoh, who radiates determination, unites two sides of a woman who is, at once, an overprotective mother and the secret weapon of Taipei's predominant triad". Rich in "stylish and stylised violence", said The Guardian, "this comedy-drama has its cake and eats it, relishing the thriller elements but keeping its tongue firmly in its cheek".

Nyad

"For the first time in nearly 30 years" Jodie Foster has been nominated for an Academy Award, said the Daily Mail. Foster plays Bonnie Stoll, friend and coach of long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad, played by Annette Bening. The film is based on Nyad's 2015 memoir, and "follows the 64-year-old swimming legend" as she strives to "achieve her lifelong dream of completing a 110-mile open-ocean swim from Cuba to Florida", said the Mail. "Nyad" in Greek translates as "water nymph", said Empire, "as numerous people in this unlikely true story repeatedly remind us", and "there is a sense of quasi-divine destiny" driving Nyad on. This adds a "sprinkling of magic that this film about her late-in-life athletic conquest hungrily seizes". Mythological allusions aside, this is "a sports movie in the most American of traditions", displaying the tropes of the genre: "the underdog, the comeback, the pick-yourself-up-when-all-hope-seems-lost can-do attitude".

Alexander: the Making of a God

Ruling the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon, Alexander the Great ascended the throne in 336BC, and was hailed as "one of the greatest military leaders of all time", said The Guardian. This new documentary "uses every means at its disposal" to get us excited about his life. "Historian talking heads" and recent archaeological discoveries are interspersed with "suitably energetic dramatic reconstructions, which make heavy use of mascara and blue contact lenses, as well as growling extras holding sharpened poles". The action "gets going properly" when Philip II, Alexander's father, dies and "the young commander decides he's absolutely had it with the Persians".

One Day

Based on the book of the same name, this 14-part series is "swoony stuff", said the London Evening Standard. It stars Ambika Mod ("This is Going to Hurt") and Leo Woodall ("The White Lotus") as best friends Emma Morley and Dexter Mayhew, who "meet for the very first time on the night of graduation, before heading their separate ways the following morning". We then watch them "through the lens of the same day every year from 1988" as they "consistently find new ways to pretend they're not madly in love with each other", said Entertainment Weekly

The Devil Wears Prada

The film's "portrait of Miranda Priestly, the imperious editor of a glossy rag called Runway", memorably portrayed by Meryl Streep, is "a collage of unforgiven slights and unforgotten grudges", said The New York Times. In short, "Miranda is a monster", giving Anne Hathaway as her fresh-from-college "eager Ivy Leaguer" assistant a very hard time. "Speaking in a soft, almost seductive monotone", Miranda "tears strips out of her assistants and withers unlucky editors with a glance – all while retaining a strange, charismatic hold over all around her", said Empire. Don't dismiss this as a fluffy chick-flick: "under the to-die-for threads of 'The Devil Wears Prada' lurks a career-minded morality tale".

3 Body Problem

"3 Body Problem" is based on the "Remembrance of Earth's Past" book trilogy by Liu Cixin, a great success in China, with global fans who "range from Mark Zuckerberg to Barack Obama to 'Thrones' author George R.R. Martin", said The Hollywood Reporter. The book "chronicles humanity's efforts to survive an impending invasion from an alien race that's fleeing a dying planet". It begins in 1967 China during the Cultural Revolution "and stretches to, well… to a very, very long time from now". Much of the first season follows a "fractious group of physicists" led by a "shadowy British intelligence chief" as they "spar against a murderous cult that wants to help the aliens colonize Earth". UK release date: 21 March 

Bridgerton, season three

The eagerly awaited third series focuses on the relationship between Penelope Featherington, played by Nicola Coughlan ("Derry Girls"), and Colin Bridgerton, played by Luke Newton ("The Lodge") for "what is sure to be the will-they-won't-they romance talk of the ton", said The Hollywood Reporter. And the season also focuses on whether Penelope can "repair her best friendship" with Eloise (Claudia Jessie), after she revealed her secret identity, Lady Whistledown, in the second season. The first four episodes are released on 16 May, but you'll have to be patient for the final four, which drop on 13 June, and – good news for fans – the series will run to a fourth season. UK release date: 16 May

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